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1. Can be used year round or seasoned?
2. Can be accessed from main road? Public or private，who maintains it. Many cottage roads are owned privately by local road associations. Find out who maintains it, when, and what the annual cost will be.Will the lane be maintained year-round? Your mortgage lender and insurer will charge you more if not. Check HOA fees and amenities
3. Is Hydro available?
4. Land Ownership?
5. Water source? Municipal supply, lake, or well; drilled, bored, or dug well; communal or private well. For waterlines from the lake, what about the treatment system. Also, check the condition of the pump and intake lines. Replacing a broken pump might set you back about $500, but having to drill a new well costs about $10,000.
6. What is municipal zoning laws and if there are other local issues such as First Nations land claims, mining issues, wind turbines plans? Are there any current or possible First Nations land claims issues? Will you own the mineral rights (not just the surface rights) to the land? Who owns the surrounding treed areas? (It could be Crown land or leased to a forestry company.) Get your lawyer to investigate these issues and decide how much potential for disruption you’re willing to live with.
7. What is the sun exposure?
8. Is there written instructions - explaining how all the building's systems (septic, water pump, heating, and electricity) work.
9. Water quality? Mortgage provider will likely require a potability test (which checks for bacteria like E. coli), available free from the local health unit. Once you decide it’s the cottage for you, get a thorough chemical analysis done ($100 and up at a private lab) to test for contaminants such as nitrates from farm runoff, metals such as lead, and sulphate. If it’s drinkable, what about the water’s smell, taste, and colour?
10. Water levels? Ask how the water levels change from year to year, and seasonally. Will fluctuations affect boating, swimming, and even building (e.g., a new dock)? Is it a feeding lake
11. Shoreline? Who owns it (there may be a 66′ shoreline allowance owned by the municipality), and who has access (check if there are deeded rights of way)? Can you alter it? (If it’s considered fish habitat, you’ll have difficulty getting a permit to make changes.)
12. Waste disposal? Cottage sewage systems can include outhouses, composting toilets, septic systems, or holding tanks that must be pumped. Is there room to upgrade the system? Check the age (more than 20 years is likely in the danger zone) and condition (e.g., is the lawn over the system wet or unusually lush? Both are bad signs).
13. Roads? Cottage culture Is there a cottage association, and is it active, cranky, or dormant? Is the lake one big booze cruise or so quiet your kids will boycott it? The association (or your realtor) should be able to inform you about the community and whether powerboats, ATVs, PWCs, and snowmobiles are welcome or not.
14. Emergency services? Is 911 service available? What’s the response time? Can emergency services even reach your property? What medical facilities are available and how far from the cottage?
15. Building approvals? Planning to build a new deck, dock, boathouse or, heck, a whole new cottage? You’ll need a permit. Depending on the project and which level of government jurisdiction it falls under, your plans may not be allowed. Also, ask how long approval takes.
16. Privacy? have to decide how much privacy you would like to have at your cottage. How close do you want your neighbours to be? Do you want to be on a crowded, busy lake, or a quiet one with only a few cottages?
17. Lake? The size of the lake often dictates the kinds of activities that can take place there. A small lake means there will be less boating and fewer motorized boats. Medium lakes tend to be fishing lakes. And a large lake will mean you could do almost any activity.
18. Surroundings? Be mindful of what is around any prospective cottage. For instance, it may not be desirable to have a hydro tower nearby if you are concerned about the electromagnetic field, but if you plan to rent the cottage out and the towers are not spoiling the view, your renters may not mind the tower for the short period of time they are there. A cottage surrounded by Crown land will have more privacy and fewer neighbours.
19. View? An elevated setting will afford a better view, but will mean stairs down to the water (kids don’t mind the climbing; older cottagers will). Also, most people want to see sunsets, so a cottage should be situated to allow that
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